Under which conditions do extreme events induce paradigm shift? Studying policy change during one century of Swiss flood risk management

Glaus, Anik; Ingold, Karin (5 February 2021). Under which conditions do extreme events induce paradigm shift? Studying policy change during one century of Swiss flood risk management (Unpublished). In: Annual Conference of the Swiss Political Science Association. Bern (Online). 4-5 February 2021.

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In this article, we present insights into focusing events’ dynamics and investigate their underlying mechanisms. While most extreme events occur without causing any political impact, single extreme events are identified as focusing events which have the power to reframe current policy and induce change. We argue that there is a remaining gap in the policy process literature concerning the conditions under which an extreme event turns into a focusing event and results in major policy change or paradigm shift. Based on several policy process theories, we identify conditions promoting change: an extreme event's objective magnitude, its consideration on the political agenda, and actors' interactions in the relevant subsystem. Using the highly relevant case of flooding in Switzerland, we study one century of major flood events and flood policies by applying the method of process tracing. Results indicate that two conditions can promote paradigm shift in Swiss flood risk management, i.e. floods’ high economic damage and a subsystem’s actor coalition(s) or policy enterpreneurs advocating for their interests. However, it is in particular a policy field’s change-prone environment coinciding with an extreme event which determines the emergence of a focusing event deploying focal power and inducing paradigm shift.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Division/Institute:

03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Political Science

Graduate School:

Graduate School of Climate Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Glaus, Anik and Ingold, Karin Mirjam

Subjects:

300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 320 Political science

Language:

English

Submitter:

Anik Glaus

Date Deposited:

12 Feb 2021 16:13

Last Modified:

12 Feb 2021 16:13

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/152013

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